Saturday, October 4, 2008

I can always use an excuse for celebration

Time for some football. My alma mater from the grad school days, University of Missouri, beat the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers for the first time in Lincoln since 1978. It wasn't even close - 52-17. I tend to make a point of catching Mizzou-Nebraska games, and still have yet to forget the 1997 contest at Mizzou's Faurot Field. I suppose as dominant as the Cornhuskers were back then, even our near-victory was something of a coup. As it was, the Tigers managed to briefly make the top 25 and got into a bowl game for the first time in ages.

Oh, and the football team for the university where I now teach, won its game today, putting the team at 3-3 for the season. The guys now know that not only can they come from behind and win, but that they can win even when they are playing on someone else's turf. I'll take good news where I can get it.

My editorial response to the Congressional passage of the "bailout"

Since a picture is worth more than ten thousand words.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Now for your moment of Zen

Picture found here. The television station's call letters are KENS, which I believe is the San Antonio CBS affiliate, if my memories from childhood serve correctly.

I'm not sure what the hell that was

but "debate" is not quite the term I would use. Strange is definitely a word for it, and I'll say that as the antipartisan that I am. The moderator was awful, and there was no flow to the conversation - it was so jarringly disjointed as candidates either failed to address a previous point made by their opponent or failed to even address the topic at hand. As an educated professional, the level of b.s. answers, especially from Palin, was painful. It was like listening to answers to freshman-level survey course essay questions rather than reading them. Either way, I end up with a headache and a craving for a pint or two of Guinness.

That's about 90 minutes that I'll never see again.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Said it before and will say it again:

The so-called bailout is an indicator that there is a crisis - but it's a crisis of legitimacy. Here's the Black Agenda Report (h/t Marisacat):
The Democratic and Republican Parties, creatures of capital, are decomposing in full view, as witnessed by the events of this week. Too fragile to weather real political storms, they will not survive the larger, unfolding crisis of capital as twin hegemons. As the crisis deepens, the parties will crack - at a pace dictated by the increasing frequency of convulsions.

When we are confronted with the surreal spectacle of John McCain and Barack Obama attempting to destroy each other even as they rush to deliver nearly a trillion dollars to the same master, while the people scream at both of them to "Stop!" - we know that "change" is coming. But not the kind the Democrats or Republicans anticipate.

Truth is, I haven't trusted the denizens inside the Beltway and Wall Street for a very long time. What little legitimacy they may have had from my vantage point was pissed away as this sorry decade progressed. Why continue to support a status quo that is clearly dysfunctional? Fear? That seems the best anyone I know can come up with - and that's simply not good enough. Don't get me wrong - I'm plenty worried as it is about the future my kids face and how Madame and I will subsist during the so-called golden years. There's just nothing in the so-called "bailout" for us; with it or without it, we'll still be subsisting from paycheck to paycheck, and our kids will be facing a very uncertain adulthood in which college educations require them to be hyper-competitive when it comes to scholarships if they wish to go at all. And we're arguably among the "luckier" of those living marginal existences. We are among the intended victims of the elites' class warfare - it took me a while to re-awaken to that reality (why I lost sight of that in the first place is a long story, and perhaps a tale worth telling some day).

If these Congresslizards are that hellbent on going along with the 21st century Robber Barons' latest heist, those of us who will get nothing, except for the bill, should be mad as hell and should let 'em know just how mad we are. In the meantime, keep educating yourselves as much as possible (Mike Whitney, among others at CounterPunch, Arthur Silber, and Calculated Risk are good resources for those needing a crash course) and if you enjoy cheap entertainment, the Beltway Kabuki Theatre is preparing for the next act.

Some better news

Looks like Phish is back.

True to form, the Senate revives The Great American Swindle

Here's the roll-call vote. Patrick at The Moderate Voice notes that the Senate version will likely end up costing around $1 trillion. The House revisits the legislation at the end of the week. Don't forget, if you're in or near DC, there's an anti-"bailout" protest set for tomorrow.

I wonder where this came from

Have you noticed that every person suddenly knows everything there is to know about how the economy works? Wow, it’s all so simple. Activists now know all there is about the dollar and oil prices and mortgages. I wonder why they never chimed in before…I started asking people for their stock tips since they are all experts now. We will all get rich quick. Right?
I wonder about the context that provoked that remark. I do know this much: expertise will only take you so far. Heck, we've been exposed to the opinions of plenty of "experts" over the years who've pushed the neoliberal kool-aid, have probably provided more than their share of stock tips, and kept the mythology of Horatio Alger alive. If you get the feeling that I'm not a huge fan of the "experts" who pushed the current wave of speculation bubbles, and who are among the same ones pushing for the "bailout", you would surmise correctly.

Jello Biafra (then of the Dead Kennedys) sez:

Trust Your Mechanic

TV invents a disease / You think you have / So you buy our drugs / And soon you depend on them / Pain is in your mind / Gotcha comin’ back for more / Again and again and again and again / Gonna rip you off / Rip you off / Doctor says you need surgery now / Feelin’ good ‘til the side effects / Fuck up something else / You’re ensnared by the medicine man / Paying up the ass / Again and again / Gonna rip you off / Trust your mechanic to mend your car / Bring it in to his garage / He tightens and loosens a few spare parts / One thing’s fixed, another falls apart / And the rich eat you / A magazine says your face don’t look quite right / Unless you wear our brand new wonder creme tonight / Never look right again / Unless you grease your skin / Again and again and again and again / Gonna rip you off / Told you’re depressed / So of course you see the psychiatrist / Right when you hit your neuroses’ roots / He confuses you / He fucks your head up worse / Gotcha feeling helpless / You’re comin’ back for more / Again and again / Gonna rip you off / Rip you off / Trust your mechanic / To make you well / You’re seeing an awful lot of him now / The quicker he makes your life fall apart / The more money you put in his pockets / Trust your mechanic / To plug your holes / Trust him to make more / Somewhere else / Trust your mechanic / He’ll always come through / And rip you off
Food for thought as the perps continue their efforts to pull off The Great American Swindle.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An action alert for those who can be there

The good folks at announced a protest for Thursday, Oct. 2. Here's the skinny:
Protest at the U.S. Capitol Building on Thursday!
Not Another Rip-off! Put People's Needs Over Wall Street Greed!

Yesterday we won. Every news report describes Congressional offices flooded with emails and phone calls opposing the bailout. But Bush has made it clear that he wants to ram legislation through Congress when it reconvenes Thursday at 12 Noon. We have to be there to tell them that we will not hand over $700 billion to the richest bankers. There should be a moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions. That's the way to solve the housing crisis. Already, two million families have either been driven from their homes or are on the verge of foreclosure. Politicians didn't hold emergency sessions to solve their crisis. Half a million workers filed first-time unemployment last week. Congress didn't hold an emergency session for them. 47 million people can't go to the doctor when they're sick. The President and Congress have taken no special action for them.

Demonstration at
the U.S. Capitol Building

Thursday, October 2, 10am
Independence and New Jersey Ave. SE
South Side of the Capitol
Washington, D.C.

We stopped Bush and the bankers yesterday. We need to take action to stop them again when Congress comes back into session on Thursday. If passed, the bailout would have constituted one of the biggest transfers of wealth in U.S. history from working families to the richest bankers. Your support is urgently needed to organize activities and distribute literature to make sure the people's victory not be overturned.

"Hundreds of thousands of people have sent letters and called their Congressional representatives demanding that they vote No to the bailout legislation," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a civil rights attorney in Washington, D.C and a spokesperson for "This was a David and Goliath battle pitting average working families against the richest bankers in the country. The only reason that we prevailed today in the House of Representatives was the avalanche of political opposition at the grassroots. People perceived this legislation to be a giant rip-off of the tax-dollars of working families, and rewarding the bankers who have driven the economy into the ground," she continued.

The website has attracted extensive support throughout the country. Over 170,000 letters were sent through the website to Congress within the last week.
You know the drill: keep the pressure on. It may be financially impossible for someone like me to travel halfway across the country to join in physically, but I'm there in spirit, and yes taking some time here and there to contact the offices of my Senators, for all the good that might do. Sen. Tom Coburn has already issued his statement in favor of the swindle - for a guy who seems to oppose pork barrel legislation, he sure seems to have developed a love of it when it comes to saving Wall Street's hide. Hell, this swindle makes "The Bridge to Nowhere" look like a stolen dime store trinket. Sen. Jim Inhofe seems a bit more skeptical at least as of last week, but where will he stand when the truth hits the fan? I wonder.

Time for another psy-ops campaign

The rulers, panicked by the House vote that scuttled the Swindle, won't go down without a fight. Ahead of the next round of voting - this time in the Senate - we have some corporate media psy-ops to drum up the necessary "consent" for the scam.

Well, this is one citizen who refuses to be panicked. I suppose a good part of it comes down to being economically marginal enough that I really have no stake in the system or have any expectation of ever even pretending to have a stake in the status quo. Nor do I believe the world will end if this century's Robber Barons don't get their blank check. Maybe I'm fatalistic enough to believe that the economic system in its current form is headed for the toilet regardless of whether or not a bunch of us have-nots bankroll a few rich assholes' fortified compounds in Paraguay after the the house of cards comes tumbling down.

I just can't get all that worked up any more. About all I can say is that rather than "bail out" Wall Street, if the Congresslizards wanted to actually do something useful (and not to worry, I hold no delusions of such a phenomenon occurring), I have already drawn upon the wisdom of such folks as Dmitry Orlov to make some suggestions. Basically, it comes down to doing some things that are proactive, such as scaling back the trappings of empire, repairing the infrastructure while that is still feasible, and sowing the seeds of a different lifestyle more in tune with our resources. The different lifestyle is coming, no matter what. Some of us have already been adjusting over the last few years, if not by choice then by necessity.

In the meantime, at least we can celebrate a small victory in the on-going class war for a little while.

Shorter David Brooks

I trust the folks who created the mess to fix it, since they clearly know what they're doing. Oh - and give them a lot of money, or else I'll have to call you names.

Nerdified link

Monday, September 29, 2008

Well, what do you know...

The House was actually afflicted with a case of temporary sanity. The Swindle hasn't become law just yet. Interesting coalition of naysayers on that one - several could, within the confines of American politics, be described as "leftist" such as Conyers and Kucinich.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We should all be pissed off about The Great American Swindle

I know I am. We all know the news by now I assume: The $700 billion bailout of Wall Street The Great American Swindle is all but a done deal. We now merely await the fat lady to sing her funeral dirge. Yes, Virginia, your Congresslizards are smiling, but don't be so generous: it isn't "almost like they enjoy fucking the voters". Take the word "almost" out and you have the truth. Something else to remember: more and "better" Democrats won't help. Yes, there are plenty of prog bloggers who have plenty of well-thought-out reasons for disliking the swindle, and who seem to think that just one of these days their beloved Dems will come to our rescue. Won't happen. Wall Street bankrolls these clowns, and Wall Street demands yet another pound of taxpayer flesh. Do the math.

As voters, we're merely supposed to show up on election days, and continue to hope and believe. The former is assumed, as we're supposed to have no other alternative but to do the latter. I don't hope and I don't believe. I also don't consider going to the polls to be advisable. Hell, I'd still be in favor of boycotting the election and holding a general strike on this year's election day. I've only been suggesting it all year. I'd be amazed if anyone actually took the idea seriously. So it goes. I'm accustomed to standing alone if need be. Maybe one person standing alone against a corrupt system is all that is left to expect in the supposed land of the free and home of the brave. So it goes.